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Hi everyone, I am just starting out on my way into the Audiophile world and I really need some help. I was recently given a pair of Dynaudio Excite X14 speakers and I have bought a Palanar turntable and I need to buy an amplifier. I have been into 3 different Hi Fi stores and have been given 3 totally answers. I have read copious reviews and spent hours trawling through YouTube and I am now so confused, I have no idea of what to buy. I have been told that Dynaudio take a lot of grunt to get them working at their best. I have absolutely no idea of what that even means. If anyone out there has any (polite) suggestions, I would be eternally grateful.

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Hi Julia,

Welcome to SNA!

 

Having a look at the stereophile review it looks like your speakers have below average sensitivity. That is for any given voltage provided by the amplifier they produce lower sound pressure levels compared to other similar sized speakers. 

 

How big an issue that is depends on how big your room is and how

loud you like to music.  Assuming you don’t have a huge room and only listen at moderately loud levels, an amp rated at 100 watts into 8 ohms is probably sufficient.  If it’s doubles or nearly doubles into a 4 ohm load, even better but it doesn’t look like your speakers present a particularly difficult load to the amp, so maybe this isn’t so important.

 

Ideally it’d be better if you could take your speakers into the hifi stores you’ve visiting and ask to listen to them with their recommended amps.  See which amp you like better.

 

 

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Welcome to the group!

 

You'd probably do better if you re-posted your question in the "Beginners & Purchasing Advice" section. It will get far more views there, and with that will come a greater chance of getting an answer or two. 

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18 hours ago, Buzzing said:

Hi everyone, I am just starting out on my way into the Audiophile world and I really need some help. I was recently given a pair of Dynaudio Excite X14 speakers and I have bought a Palanar turntable and I need to buy an amplifier. I have been into 3 different Hi Fi stores and have been given 3 totally answers. I have read copious reviews and spent hours trawling through YouTube and I am now so confused, I have no idea of what to buy. I have been told that Dynaudio take a lot of grunt to get them working at their best. I have absolutely no idea of what that even means. If anyone out there has any (polite) suggestions, I would be eternally grateful.

Hi Julia

The word amplifier suggests many variations, on one hand some see an amplifier as a integrated type, where the type of volume control and the majority of circuitry with many inputs delivers audio to a pair of speaker sockets.... but

 

Others ignore the first as best they can, and instead always see an amplifier as strictly a power amplifier dedicated to the lowest distortion possible, and would usually partner this with a passive attenuator IF best possible audio is desired.  The power amplifier would be chosen to have sufficient power, and usually sensitivity to match the output of today's sources, which rated in RMS voltage is typically below 350mv, or 500mv for some high output tuners. 

 

Hence knowing just a little about amplifier specifications can help a great deal.   the website here called Hifi engine, enables you to look up as you say how much grunt a amplifier has    https://www.hifiengine.com/

 

A good amplifier will usually double its power as others have said into a 4 ohm load, however valve power amplifiers do the opposite, that is provide higher power output into higher impedance speaker loads. There are exceptions never the less, that sound good even though they lack ability to double available power. a good clue is looking at distortion figures - as to what will sound good.    

 

Hope that helps you, and welcome to SNA

 

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Hi Julia

Welcome.

Unfortunately you are going to get many different views here and elsewhere re which amp to buy.

There are so many variables, like your room, you music taste, your budget etc. 

You also need a a phono stage - that is something you need to be able to use your turntable. 

The easiest way to go ahead is to buy an Integrated Amplifier, that is an amplifier that includes the phono stage, has volume control and a few other functions like the ability to connect your TV, a cd player , a streamer etc.

Your speakers are have an impedance of 8ohms and a sensitivity of 85dB - it sound quite technical, but it is not that hard to understand. Without getting too technical:

  • Normally 8 ohm speakers needs less "grunt" than 6 ohm speakers which needs less "grunt"  than 4 ohm speakers etc. In your case it is nothing to really worry about - most amps can handle 8 ohms. (I note that Stereophile magazine tested your speakers and noted they were easy to drive). 
  • The sensitivity of 85dB means it is "harder to drive" than a speaker that is 90dB. You need more Watt from an amplifier to get the same volume on a 85dB speaker than need on a 90dB speaker. In your case it means that you may have to go for an amp with an output of say 100 watt rather than say 50 watt.

I would recommend starting a topic: Help needed with Dynaudio X14 speakers or Which amp for Dynaudio X14 speakers - that may get you more specific advice

 

All the best with your journey.

Edited by Jventer
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It looks like a "standard" Dynaudio - 85dB is probably more like 83dB and their power handling is 150W in 8ohms. I would dare to say - try 200W@4ohm (100W@8ohm) some decent class D amps - you will be surprised what Dyns can deliver, even their entry level models.   

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Thank you everyone for replying to my cry for help. I really appreciate all of your thoughts. It becomes apparent that I have a huge amount to learn, as ohms, sensitivities, db, etc, are understandable words and definitions are easy to find. However, as a real novice but true enthusiast, I am lost when you start to combine these words. How do I start to learn ? Is there a beginners bible, a book where you learn without being talked down to ? If not, why has nobody from this excellent forum not written one ? It would be a huge help and might encourage many novices, like myself, to enter the black art of sound. Again, very many thanks to those who have replied and started me on my journey of discovery. Julia 

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30 minutes ago, Buzzing said:

Thank you everyone for replying to my cry for help. I really appreciate all of your thoughts. It becomes apparent that I have a huge amount to learn, as ohms, sensitivities, db, etc, are understandable words and definitions are easy to find. However, as a real novice but true enthusiast, I am lost when you start to combine these words. How do I start to learn ? Is there a beginners bible, a book where you learn without being talked down to ? If not, why has nobody from this excellent forum not written one ? It would be a huge help and might encourage many novices, like myself, to enter the black art of sound. Again, very many thanks to those who have replied and started me on my journey of discovery. Julia 

To try and make this 'easy' for you, (as it was made for me, many years ago)

if you think of volume/loudness, 3db is a doubling. So, to gain 3db more volume from an amplifier, 25 watts, would require 50 watts, then 100, then 200 and so forth. So if you have a 50 watt amp, and 85db speakers,  Vs 90db (@ 1 watt metre = loudness at 1 metre using 1 watt) you'd require in effect doubling the amps power to match the 90db speakers using 85db ones, this is highly simplified, and I am not technical enough to fully understand or explain the complex mathematics involved.

  so low power amps require more efficient 90-100db speakers (you can drive inefficient speakers ( say -87db) with low power, but you will simply not get the best from them). Conversely you can drive efficient speakers very well with high power amps.....  This is called 'headroom' = reserve of power the amp has at a given volume to deal with high volume/fast transient sounds (good example real cannon on the 1812 overture) The high power amp will  'control' the speakers. 

hope this simplified explanation makes sense and helps you.

 

Edited by Graywulf
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18 minutes ago, Graywulf said:

To try and make this 'easy' for you, (as it was made for me, many years ago)

if you think of volume/loudness, 3db is a doubling. So, to gain 3db more volume from an amplifier, 25 watts, would require 50 watts, then 100, then 200 and so forth. So if you have a 50 watt amp, and 85db speakers,  Vs 90db (@ 1 watt metre = loudness at 1 metre using 1 watt) you'd require in effect doubling the amps power to match the 90db speakers using 85db ones, this is highly simplified, and I am not technical enough to fully understand or explain the complex mathematics involved.

  so low power amps require more efficient 90-100db speakers (you can drive inefficient speakers ( say -87db) with low power, but you will simply not get the best from them). Conversely you can drive efficient speakers very well with high power amps.....  This is called 'headroom' = reserve of power the amp has at a given volume to deal with high volume/fast transient sounds (good example real cannon on the 1812 overture) The high power amp will  'control' the speakers. 

hope this simplified explanation makes sense and helps you.

 

Graywulf.   Thank you.  OK.  I feel like I’m moving. I don’t know where it’s going to take me, but you and all the other kind replies, have started me off. Any suggestions on a pre and power amplifier for a beginner ? Any thoughts would be very gratefully received. Again, many, many thanks to everyone for starting me off. Julia 

 

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hi Julia

 

Welcome 😃 and as suggested in some earlier posts by @jt301 et al... if you clarify a few things it will help peeps give more targeted suggestions e.g.

-your approximate amplifier budget

-approximate room size (width, length, height) 

-typically listening volume (soft, moderate, loud)

 

Cheers

2B

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Hi 2d, Thanks for your interest. Quick answers.

Room size 4.2 x 5.0 metres and height of 3.3.

Volume: Moderate + (enough to irritate my house mate.

Budget: Starting at around $2,000 - $3,000 until I have learnt a lot more.       Actually, cheaper the better to start with.

Julia

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Ok, that is a very decent amplifier budget.  And my feeling is maybe you stick with an integrated (one box) amplifier to begin with.  Some thoughts to follow.

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Thanks Ticcus, I don’t want to spend an unnecessary amount to begin with but thought I would have to, too get something reasonable. If  I can get something cheaper to learn with, then that is much better for me. Thanks for your time. Julia 

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4 minutes ago, Buzzing said:

Graywulf.   Thank you.  OK.  I feel like I’m moving. I don’t know where it’s going to take me, but you and all the other kind replies, have started me off. Any suggestions on a pre and power amplifier for a beginner ? Any thoughts would be very gratefully received. Again, many, many thanks to everyone for starting me off. Julia 

 

Ok firstly,

FORGET taking reviews as 'gospel' many of them (especially online) are literally 'paid adverts', and if reviewers really bag a piece of equip, they have to take account that they possibly won't get more gear to review, so take reviews with that in mind. There ARE good reviews out there, but tbh forums such as this is where the owners of gear lurk, or have owned various speakers/amps/et etc.

  Again opinions are like bum holes, we all have them. Everyone's ears, rooms, music preference, is different for a start, and we will frequently hear a certain bit of gear differently.  Being new, it's very easy to, and you WILL make mistakes. You've got a reasonable set of speakers and a deck, (make sure the stylus is in good condition and if you are starting a hifi journey the cartridge/stylus is a critical component.  (cartridge can be looked at much later on, but the stylus (needle) you need to know is good very quickly or you could damage LP's) I haven't run LP's for almost 15yrs, so my knowledge as it was is vastly 'outdated' on decks/cartridge options now.

  now, do you want to use CD's as well? Digital music ( music server even bluetooth your cell ph/PC for spotify etc?)

  Your options start with your budget,  pure and simple. Then you can start to look at options.

 to keep things simple, you'd need an amplifier with Phono stage built in, and likely bluetooth or even wifi? <( I have a different type of set up, and my system does not have either, I use a plug in unit to access bluetooth) 

  Someone has already suggested the wattage they'd recommend for those speakers. so you have a starting requirement. 

   There is always a 'raging' argument as to what is the most important bit of gear in the system, answer is they all are. Crap player = crap sound, crap player into good amp/speakers = crap sound; good player, crap amp, good speakers = crap sound, etc;  you get the idea.

Again depending on budget and just what you want (just LP's or CD's, digital etc) is going to dictate what you can spend on each item.

    you can have as I would suggest as a start an integrated (all in one) amp, there are many good ones (I'd say someone(s) on here know those speakers well and will come up with amplifier options.

 You can go separates (2 box amplifier) pre amp - power amp, this allows individual upgrades but is likely more expensive and easier to make mistakes at the start.  (even after 45 yrs I make them lol)

   Class D has been suggested,  I've heard nice sounding, and really harsh, brittle reproduction from these. Their advantage is they are small, do not get hot, very efficient, do not consume lots of power. So if you decide that route people here will have suggestions.

   You can go 'transistor' solid State,  which is what most run in their hifi systems, they are plug into the mains, connect up and 'forget'

or a few weirdo's (like me) jump down the rabbit hole, and run Vacuum tube (valve) gear... but (hehehe) you do not want to enter that warren as it becomes addictively wallet thinning 🤠

  So decide your budget, then we can help you :)

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17 minutes ago, Buzzing said:

Thanks Ticcus, I don’t want to spend an unnecessary amount to begin with but thought I would have to, too get something reasonable. If  I can get something cheaper to learn with, then that is much better for me. Thanks for your time. Julia 

 I think you'll find that between the members on here, you'll get 'sorted'. One thing I will say succinctly here, 99% of hifi gear is well looked after, so do not be scared of buying second hand. You can end up with very a respectable system for a 'low' price.

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On 25/12/2020 at 2:01 AM, Buzzing said:

Hi everyone, I am just starting out on my way into the Audiophile world and I really need some help. I was recently given a pair of Dynaudio Excite X14 speakers and I have bought a Palanar turntable and I need to buy an amplifier. I have been into 3 different Hi Fi stores and have been given 3 totally answers. I have read copious reviews and spent hours trawling through YouTube and I am now so confused, I have no idea of what to buy. I have been told that Dynaudio take a lot of grunt to get them working at their best. I have absolutely no idea of what that even means. If anyone out there has any (polite) suggestions, I would be eternally grateful.

 

Welcome Julia.

 

I've owned a pair of Dynaudio Exicte X30 and therefore can speak from experience. What you have read about Dynaudio needing a 'lot of grunt' is generally applicable to their other lines of speakers; the Excite line of speakers like your X14 are designed specifically to be easy to drive by most amplifiers. In other words don't get stressed over amplifier power - it is not all that important in your case.

 

In this link thread is an audition list of amplifiers that you may like to try out at the Hi Fi shops to help start your search. This is a good starting point. Try them first and see if you like any of them; if not feel free to try other amps at the shops.

 

 

Other posts above would have mentioned that you need certain inputs on your amplifier for your turntable. The Hi Fi store should be able to help identify those features of your amp. Good luck. 

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OK Julia, here are some thoughts, which reinforce some of the foregoing and hopefully help rather than further confuse. And warning, long-winded post!

 

You have stated your speakers are the Dynaudio Excite X14.  These are “passive” speakers, meaning they need an external amplifier to drive them, and I think for a hifi newbie a “one-box” integrated amplifier is best.  An integrated amp simply means it has a pre-amplifier and power amplifier contained in a single housing/box.  The pre-amplifier section is where you select the music source (CD, phono, streamer etc) and apply a variable gain (or attenuation) by turning the volume knob.  The signal then passes through the power amplifier section which applies a fixed gain (multiplication) to the ‘pre-amplified’ signal.  This lifts the signal to a strength that via the speaker cables can drive your speakers to the volume that you want.

 

So as an example…with absolutely no vested interest, agenda or bias I’ll discuss a Yamaha A-S1100 integrated amp (I don’t own this brand, or passive speakers for that matter).  Essentially randomly selected because

 

1) It should be a well-supported brand and the RRP 2599 falls in your price range.  With some negotiation/new year sales a walk away price close to $2000 should be possible.  There are many likewise reputable brands and if almost everyone has pet brand/biases 🙂

 

2) the specs (not as detailed as I’d like) indicate that it should have enough “grunt” to drive and control your X14’s.  That is, the specs from the Yamaha website lists a ‘dynamic’ 100W (power) in into 8 Ohm load (which is the nominal resistive load of your X14s) and indicates a dynamic 190W into 4 Ohm load.  This indicates the amplifier has a reasonable ability to dynamically deliver extra current when required e.g. crescendos in music and non-linear behaviour/load of real world speakers.  

 

3) it also lists a damping factor of 250 which is pretty good, and indicates the ability to control the speakers…so that musical notes start and stop cleanly, when they should.

 

4) the nett weight (23kg) and photos of the amplifier internals indicates a reasonable high quality build.

 

5) it has a built-in phonostage to receive/decompress/amplify the VERY small signal coming from your turntable, actually from the cartridge on the tonearm.  That will get you started, and maybe good enough forever…but if the upgrade bug bites you can easily buy and connect a separate external phonostage later.

 

6) it has a headphone out, so you can plug in a set of headphones (“cans”) for late night listening or when you just want that headphone experience

 

7) It has some old school bling including the VU meters (signal level) meters 😎

 

 

And in conclusion, i would hope that some SNA members from your neck of the woods can recommend a trusted hifi shop or two, and specific sales people, that are patient and can speak in laypersons terms.  Otherwise it can be a wall of geeky jargon 🤓

 

If time and CV-19 considerations allow it would be ideal if you can visit a recommended shop and listen to some amplifiers hooked up to the same or similar model Dynaudios.  Very important to take music that you know and enjoy, and don’t rush, and trust your own ears….not what someone else says is good.  It can be a leap of faith to some degree, judging what sounds good in the shop versus how it might sound in your own room.

 

Hope that helps

 

Ticc/2B

Edited by 2Brix
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In addition to all of the above, in particular 2Brix post suggestions that will more likely get you to where you need to be, reviews of the Dynaudio x14 speaker valued about $2k new when sold in the past, mention that it has a neutral and detailed sound and not a warm sound. When matching speakers and amps the general perceived rule is to use warm sounding equipment with the opposite sound so as not too accentuate things to much and end up with too sharp a sound or too warm a sound. Somewhat like cooking don’t add spice with spice for the final meal, instead spice with rice or noodles etc.

 

Commonly referred hifi description terms can be found here to help choose what you may like https://www.moon-audio.com/audiophile-terms-guide

 

The other thing to consider is that unless you have experience of how to listen to good sound or have someone help, you may not know how to pick the difference between less expensive gear and greater expense may not be needed. For example, a $1000 new integrated amp may do the job for you if all you want is a background sound and you are not sitting in front of the speakers more than usual to pick the music detail that more expensive gear can offer.

 

Also consider that a $3k new amp budget would also be achieved in a used budget of less than half that in good condition and options up to 2-3 times new value. If you choose this option perhaps stay under 5-10 year old equipment that are more reliable. Instead of integrated amps you can also achieve separate preamp and power amp options with potentially greater sound quality. The used budget can be as little as $600-1000 decent options as you may not want to overspend the free speakers you have been given that are worth about $800-1000 used themselves.

 

Alternatviely, later on when you have done the research pick the final 3-4 shortlist model options you are thinking about and ask further questions here.

Edited by Al.M
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Hello and welcome,

Go to the Dynaudio retailer and see what they are using/would use.

Get good speaker leads.

Most manufactures of HiFi components offer decent integrated amplifiers. 100 watts RMS should be OK for your purposes.

Spend some time on finding the best position of the speakers in your room.

Above all LISTEN.

Even if you can't take your speakers to the shop, listen to 2 or 3 different amplifiers using same speakers (and speakers of similar quality to the Excites.)

Have patience.

 

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22 hours ago, Buzzing said:

Hi 2d, Thanks for your interest. Quick answers.

Room size 4.2 x 5.0 metres and height of 3.3.

Volume: Moderate + (enough to irritate my house mate.

Budget: Starting at around $2,000 - $3,000 until I have learnt a lot more.       Actually, cheaper the better to start with.

Julia

 

Have you considered the need to place your X14 speakers on some dedicated speaker stands? You may need to set aside a moderate amount to purchase a pair of stands as well. 

 

I would second @soundnut advice above to listen and try out different positions of your speakers in your room. Don't push them close to a wall or into a corner; they would sound much better away from walls and have plenty of space around them.

 

If you are interested in an audiophile book to start learning, a good guide is Jim Smith's 'Get Better Sound' link below.

https://www.getbettersound.com/

 

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Hi Julia,

 

The X14 speakers are a fine bit of gear, and from the reviews would not need anything really special to drive them well, although quality amplification does count.

 

Warning: becoming an "audiophile" can result in a long-standing and expensive hobby/disease. If your goal is highly music oriented then audiophilia is not required. Some care in choosing your matching equipment will do well.

 

Your budget is right on the mark for a good amp to pair with the X14s. You will need a phono input on the amp, and these are not always included on new and modestly priced models—I suggest a look at 'recent but not old' second hand equipment. (Audiophiles are notorious for upgrading.:)) The for sale section here is a good start. Second hand gear from a good dealer is also much more likely to be lent or exchanged easily than new, so you can audition in your own room.

 

Amplifiers determine much less of the overall character of the sound than do the speakers, the room, and the speaker placement within the room. The X14s have been reviewed as very neutral sounding so unless you get really fussy, this would seem to indicate that almost any good amplifier from a well-regarded manufacturer would work well. I would, as others have recommended, suggest an integrated with about 100 watts per channel as a starter. Such an amp could easily last you for a considerable time.

 

Lastly, we are all nuts here:lol: (some more than others!) so feel free to ask more questions. There may even be locals who would lend you equipment just for the chance to talk hi-fi.

 

Edited by GregWormald
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Since you are also just starting up, look for a one box solution that also includes a built in streamer. You can stream music from Spotify or Tidal/Qobuz if you start getting into higher quality. 
 

Marantz pairs well with your speakers. I would recommend the Marantz PM7000N to start with. It should be under 1.5k. Has a phono and a streamer. 

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